Only two days in town, Tom may be staying a few more days before moving on. For tonight, Tom will be heading to the Occupy encampment. This kid (at some point anyone under thirty seems to be still a kid) has been on the road for 6 years (since 21 years old.) Tom is a musician who lugs around a banjo (and a fiddle?) His musical roots come from Ska, but while he grew up in Vegas, NV, surrounded by Rastas, he never became one himself.
I think Tom looks cute despite, or maybe because of his eccentric style. Tom uses a mineral oil based salve for styling his moustache (or Zwirbelbart, Schnurrbart.) Was this style not fashionable in the eighteen hundreds? I believe Wilhelm Bush, the German poet, writer and painter wore a similar look. Tom was hanging out on the plaza as I was walking by with my pups. One of the advantages of getting older is the freedom to talk to any stranger at most any time and place. Tom was a delight, I wish him well, happy trails!
Update: As of Saturday December 3. Tom is still at the camp which experienced first snow a little bit more then a sprinkle, last night. Thankfully the forecast for an outright serious storm did not manifest, not so far, but currently the snow is falling and I hope they all stay safe and warm enough.
I am offering Michael Moore's proposal to OWS below as food for contemplation and discussion. The time has come for real change, the change so many of us have been wanting for a long time. Go to his website, link on the bottom, to find a long list of intelligent, thoughtful comments that expand on his ideas. Who said that Occupy was vague and unfocused?
10 Things We Want
A Proposal for Occupy Wall Street
Submitted by Michael Moore
1. Eradicate the Bush tax cuts for the rich and institute new taxes on the wealthiest Americans and on corporations, including a tax on all trading on Wall Street (where they currently pay 0%).
2. Assess a penalty tax on any corporation that moves American jobs to other countries when that company is already making profits in America. Our jobs are the most important national treasure and they cannot be removed from the country simply because someone wants to make more money.
3. Require that all Americans pay the same Social Security tax on all of their earnings (normally, the middle class pays about 6% of their income to Social Security; someone making $1 million a year pays about 0.6% (or 90% less than the average person). This law would simply make the rich pay what everyone else pays.
4. Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, placing serious regulations on how business is conducted by Wall Street and the banks.
5. Investigate the Crash of 2008, and bring to justice those who committed any crimes.
6. Reorder our nation's spending priorities (including the ending of all foreign wars and their cost of over $2 billion a week). This will re-open libraries, reinstate band and art and civics classes in our schools, fix our roads and bridges and infrastructure, wire the entire country for 21st century internet, and support scientific research that improves our lives.
7. Join the rest of the free world and create a single-payer, free and universal health care system that covers all Americans all of the time.
8. Immediately reduce carbon emissions that are destroying the planet and discover ways to live without the oil that will be depleted and gone by the end of this century.
9. Require corporations with more than 10,000 employees to restructure their board of directors so that 50% of its members are elected by the company’s workers. We can never have a real democracy as long as most people have no say in what happens at the place they spend most of their time: their job. (For any U.S. businesspeople freaking out at this idea because you think workers can't run a successful company: Germany has a law like this and it has helped to make Germany the world’s leading manufacturing exporter.)
10. We, the people, must pass three constitutional amendments that will go a long way toward fixing the core problems we now have. These include:
a) A constitutional amendment that fixes our broken electoral system by
1) completely removing campaign contributions from the political process;
2) requiring all elections to be publicly financed;
3) moving election day to the weekend to increase voter turnout;
4) making all Americans registered voters at the moment of their birth;
5) banning computerized voting and requiring that all elections take place on paper ballots.
b) A constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not people and do not have the constitutional rights of citizens. This amendment should also state that the interests of the general public and society must always come before the interests of corporations.
c) A constitutional amendment that will act as a "second bill of rights" as proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt: that every American has a human right to employment, to health care, to a free and full education, to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat safe food, and to be cared for with dignity and respect in their old age.
Let me know what you think. Occupy Wall Street enjoys the support of millions. It is a movement that cannot be stopped. Become part of it by sharing your thoughts with me or online (@OccupyWallSt.org). Get involved in (or start!) your own local Occupy movement. Make some noise. You don't have to pitch a tent in lower Manhattan to be an Occupier. You are one just by saying you are. This movement has no singular leader or spokesperson; every participant is a leader in their neighborhood, their school, their place of work. Each of you is a spokesperson to those whom you encounter. There are no dues to pay, no permission to seek in order to create an action.
We are but ten weeks old, yet we have already changed the national conversation. This is our moment, the one we've been hoping for, waiting for. If it's going to happen it has to happen now. Don't sit this one out. This is the real deal. This is it.
If you need more inspiration watch a panel with Michael Moore and Naomi Klein as regards a move from outrage to hope.
A few of my notes on Mike's proposal:
#2 Penalties seem unrealistic to me, but maybe an import tax so that outsourcing simply looses profitability?
#5 If the Crash of 2008 is to be investigated, then surely Bush's and cronies crimes on humanity ought to be. The South African Truth and Justice model might serve us better then any demand for legal justice.
#6 Yes to the realignment of our values to peaceful co-existence rather then dominion over the world. Bring back foreign troops, close bases around the world, stop the wars, defund the Pentagon. This ought to be up on top of any list of demands.
#7 A single-payer, universal health care system for all that takes away control from the pharmaceutical - and health insurance industries is an absolute essential priority.
#10 Money has got to go out of politics. Votes can not be bought. Corporations are not people and can not be allowed to hold rights like citizens. I like the simple idea of moving voting days to weekends for increased voter participation. Why has nobody ever thought of that. We do know of the importance of paper ballots, that's a no-brainer. I would support compulsory voting. Citizens ought to not just have the right, but carry the burden of responsibility to vote.
What is not mentioned is the ridiculous war on drugs and incarceration of many non-violent low level drug offenders in privately run prisons. Legalize dope already and stop the criminalization of a whole segment of our population. Instead use the money now used in senseless war on dope to offer opportunities for education, jobs and quality of life, so drugs are not the first answer to a challenging existence. Prisons ought to protect society and should not be run for profit, that inevitably will create a form of slavery.
Your thoughts on these matters are welcome, feel free to offer your comments and thanks for taking the time to consider these very serious issues.
- Research has shown Walmart pays an average wage of just $8.81/hour for their sales associates.
- Walmart is the world's largest private employer, with more then 21 million employees
(14 million associates in the US alone.)
- Despite the economy, Walmart continues to be profitable with 16.4 billion in net income for fiscal 2010.
- CEO Mike Duke's compensation in 2010 was 18.7 million.
- Walmart has been consistently anti-union.
- Walmart pays nothing ($0.00) in state corporate taxes in New Mexico
- For every dollar spent in a locally owned business, 45 cents stay within our Santa Fe economy.
- For every dollar spent in a non-local business, only 13 cents stay in our community.
- Locally owned business recycle a higher percentage of profits back into the local economy.
- Two major chains, when compared with local businesses, gave 75% less to charities than locally
I have avoided Walmart for decades, but I will admit that many items can not be found from a local source, much less for a competitive price. So, if you do decide to shop at Walmart, at least do so not blindly, but know the facts, know the high cost of cheap shopping. (The above info was taken from a Walmart Fact sheet off the internet.)
Our upcoming legislative session is the place to finally plug those corporate loopholes as regards fair taxation and in so doing give local businesses a fair chance and the local economy a boost.
Finally the holidays are about people, not things. No need to shop 'til you drop. Just say no!
Why do I support the Occupy Movement? Because it is time!
I absolutely hate US war mongering along with corporate driven mainstream media's underreporting of the peace protests. I am so fed up with the cowboy mentality that brought so much devastation with no repercussions to the instigators, Bush, Cheney and cohorts. Sadly these days this is continued by our US government, ironically by our Nobel Peace Price winning President Barack Obama, who must have sanctioned the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Unforgivable for our President, a lawyer, to not have made every effort to apprehend and to have brought before an international court of justice Osama Bin Laden.
I hate US simple mindedness, of which George Bush will forever serve as poster child. It allowed for Bush to be elected twice, no matter any deceit, he got a lot of votes. This made America the laughing stock of the world. On top Bush got away with it all. No repercussions, except for a few countries (Spain and Canada, maybe others) ready to arrest him if he so much as touches their ground.
I hate US expansionism, no doubt pushed by corporate greed. We are given bogus reasons for invading and manipulating sovereign countries, even when the world knew Saddam had not been involved with 9/11 and we the US were begged to wait for the special report on Saddam's nuclear capabilities and intentions. We can not allow this same mistake, as some like to put it, or deceit, as others see it, to happen again with Iran!
"Military spending, found in the Department of Defense and other departments, has increased dramatically during each year that George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been president, roughly doubling during the past decade... both as measured in real dollars and as a percentage share of discretionary spending. Military and related “security” spending is now at over $1 trillion per year and comprises well over half of federal discretionary spending. It is also very nearly equal to the military spending of all other nations on earth combined. Ending our two most costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan before the 2013 fiscal year budget would save $1.8 trillion, as compared with ending those wars on the currently planned schedule, with savings of $108 billion per year." The 99% Deficit Proposal
I hate to see all those funds go in to war mongering and useless defensive strategies when the American people are suffering and living in 3. world conditions already. Brown University estimates that our wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan have cost 236,000 lives and $4 trillion. My state of residence for the last quarter century holds the 14th highest position of food insecurity. Kids go to bed hungry, here in the US! I want to see America close bases all around the world and especially in Germany, but instead it was announced the other day that expansionism will be continued now with bases in Australia, supposedly to keep an eye on China. "Today, we know that the "American way of life" – the model that the rest of the world is meant to aspire towards – has resulted in 400 people owning the wealth of half of the population of the United States." Arundhati Roy
While President Obama got elected under the premises of offering change, what we got is small change rather then real change. A mandate for the poor to get health insurance will bolster the insurance industries on cost of those that can afford it least. Nothing but universal health insurance will do. President Obama, while he admitted in an ideal world that would be best, never fought for us, the 99% of Americans.
One of the most egregious acts against the 99% may well come from the Superior Court's decision of having awarded corporations personhood along with an ability of unlimited funding to causes of their choice. This effectively has undermined our current democracy of one person - one vote, to one where those with the funds will be able to buy their votes, not in small part through deceptive and rigged, right wing media. (Why anyone would pay attention though to propaganda by either party, especially before an election is beyond me.) I shudder at all the wasted money thrown down this media monster machine in an endless frenzy of attempted manipulation. Meanwhile real people with real bellies and real mouths and real eyes go hungry, homeless and do not receive the medical care they need, or get it too late. (Check on the stories on We Are The 99%, they are heart breaking.) "Somewhere along the way, capitalism reduced the idea of justice to mean just "human rights." Arundhati Roy
As regards taxation, I am not in the camp that simply believes the rich should pay for the poor. What I do want is fair taxation that no longer allows corporations and individuals to use legal loopholes for tax evasion purposes. "Closing corporate tax loopholes would return the fair share of taxes paid by corporations to the funding of government. Declining corporate taxation is another prime factor in increasing ...deficits. Corporate income taxes have fallen from roughly 4.8% of GDP in the 1950s to only 1.8% of GDP over the past decade. Ending just two large breaks, deferral of overseas revenue and accelerated depreciation would raise about $114 billion over a decade. The Treasury Department lists $365 billion in corporate tax breaks being gifted annually — that’s $3.65 trillion over the next 10 years. Due to tax loopholes, corporations pay record low tax rates — they actually pay 21% on average. Indeed, a recent report by Citizens for Tax Justice found that Wells Fargo received $18 billion in tax breaks, while both Verizon and General Electric paid negative taxes. Earlier Citizens for Tax Justice reported that 12 major companies which together made $171 billion in profits from 2008-2010 paid a negative $2.5 billion in taxes, thanks to $62 billion in tax subsidies." The 99% Deficit Proposal
There is too the world of lobbyists I personally have little experience with, but somehow understand the need for reform as there is an urgent need as well in the area of finance and banking regulations.
The Occupy movement has only just begun to scratch the surface, but tapped in to an outrage that is profound and will last and will be transformed only with real change. Global occupation sites have shown the world that it is time and that we, the 99 percent, are willing to go to great length toward global justice.
I want to explore still why I am so attracted to the Occupy movement, like I take to it like a Mermaid to water. But the influx of information, opinions and happenings are overwhelming. On top I feel like I ought to present a masterly dissertation in favor of the Occupy movement. But I am conflicted like with most anything and things keep on changing. Even while I was writing my post 11.11.11 describing the progress of our local encampment, the fire department had been checking out the site and had ordered the disuse of propane, leaving the kitchen stranded for the weekend, well kinda. Charcoal grills that are part of the park are o.k. to use and of course the community came to assistance.
On my way home from the encampment through the Farmers Market on Saturday, I managed to score a whole chicken and proceeded to cook my very first chicken soup from a whole bird. I was scared to reach inside and deal with the innards, but my fear was unfounded, all was wrapped in plastic and much appreciated by my pups, but not our Pretty Kitty, he is a finicky eater for sure. I was ready to deliver the goods, a pot of steaming hot soup with vegetables from the community garden across the encampment, on my bike at night, but got a response from my post on-line and got a ride, appreciated in frigid winter temperatures. The feedback next day was glowing "the best soup ever" despite little salt and spice since some of the campers can not tolerate such and our "Chef" had suffered a stroke. Tough to camp out in winter temperatures after a stroke, but he insists it to be his choice. There would be beds and warm meals at the shelter, but he prefers to be an essential part at our occupation site.
The very next day one crotchety, senior part time camper told me that he wished I would do something on my visits to camp. We seem to have a lot of those senior, sinewy, seemingly uptight guys in our local occupation movement. I have been walking my pups to the occupation site and through the park twice daily most days now since the site at my nearby park got occupied. It is a good way to get a feel for things, relay some information and offer a helping hand where needed.
I want to state that I did not vote for establishing an encampment, I abstained, because I knew I would not be an occupier and because I am not convinced that the freedom to assembly includes the freedom to create tent cities in public places.
There are those that abhor the mere mention of such doubts and want those voices to shut up and go someplace else. I find that offensive and unacceptable. Americans really seem to be unable to tolerate dissent. One dear senior expressed a wish for those homeless occupiers to get pocket money for cigarettes and time off, maybe to hang out in a warm coffee shop. While his desire no doubt came from his heart and his experience spending nights at the site, I find it wholly unacceptable to pay protesters. I always object to providing anyone with their drug of choice, be that cigarettes, alcohol, dope or donuts. My senior buddy stomped off upon hearing my remark, somewhat flippant I admit, and we have not communicated since.
At such times it is good to go back to basics, do what's in front, take the next step. Despite having caught a cold during our last General Assembly and despite my doubts about the legitimacy of a tent city in an urban environment, I took to the street with my erasable bulletin board the morning after the unnecessarily forceful clearing of the People's Park, the Occupy Wall Street encampment. I was mostly standing alone! Campers did not feel like it! There were never as many as even a dozen protesters in the main intersection where our protest were to be held, announced on line while the destruction of OWS still was in full progress! A movement that can not mobilize at a moment's notice seems to me is not a movement! Movement or not, I believe we are the 99%, maybe 99.99%! I might take to the streets, or rather side walks alone, because it is time!
I object to police brutality, to the devious secrecy of the military style police action, and to the thrashing of personal property including the public library, all hauled off in dump trucks (60 out of 5000 books do not restore what must have been an outstanding library donated in part by Pattie Smith.) If you have not done so yet, feel free to place your objections with Major Bloomberg by calling 1 212 639 9675.
It has been now over a full month of involvement for me with the Occupy movement. All along I have been feeling a need to express why I felt such an immediate attraction and got actively involved locally as soon as I discovered our first camp across Bank of America, erected on impulse, after that first successful demonstration on October 8th. Unlike my more usual reluctance to join any one group, I have been feeling compelled to stand up and be counted, so to say, and to do my part in speaking out and taking a stand against our global and local, social and economic injustices.
Lacking proper gear and equipment for camping in winter temperatures, I have no inclination of joining our encampment as an occupier. My passion is for the causes (there are so many) rather then the occupation. But if it takes an occupation to join a global movement for justice then I am all for supporting those that are willing to occupy.
This said, I am in awe on what Occupy Santa Fe has managed to accomplish in such a short time. As I mentioned in an earlier post, besides a circle of about 25 tents, the kitchen got moved in to the bigger tent and got organized with the help of two welcome shelves, what a difference. The rotating crew puts out three warm and delicious meals a day, despite challenges of accessing clean running water (frozen during frigid nights.) A third generator, now encased in straw bale to dampen the noise, supports meetings at the big tent with light and heat at night. Two solar panels got set up and are working, able to juice up computers and cell phones. Various working groups have been busy and teach-ins already happened and continue to do so, including today.
Yet there is trouble, here locally, like there is at occupation sites world wide, challenged by the winter season in particular, and for us locally by part of our population that is homeless, addicted, sometimes psychotic and on occasion violent. So despite great achievements the occupation has been seriously put in to question. Discussions will be had in these next few days. Should we give up the encampment and move somewhere indoors? There are no easy answers. I will keep you posted. Come back if you care to find out.
Occupy Santa Fe has grown to now feature two generators, two solar panels, a media tent, a good size tent used by the kitchen, and since this morning a large tent to accommodate good sized groups of activists for general assemblies, teach-ins and working groups. A circle of individual and community tents fill in a good size circle that is the occupation site. We are lucky to have bathrooms available near by along with 2 outhouses placed by order of our Major.
Occupy Santa Fe now has a website that features forums and the various working groups anyone can participate in, once signed in with WordPress. Of course Occupy Santa Fe can be found on facebook, twitter and also on flickr.
As of yesterday Occupy Santa Fe raised $2500. There is now an account with Del Norte Credit Union.
Tomorrow Occupy Santa Fe will partake in a nation wide action "Move Your Money". For that purpose a protest will be held in front of Bank of America and Wells Fargo on St. Michael's Drive, starting 9 in the morning. If you have not yet moved your money out of the major banks and are not yet motivated to do so, you may check on these 10 reasons to get inspired. If you have moved your money already, like I did ages ago, fed up with the treatment I got, still show up at a demonstration near you and lend your body to a worthy cause.
This action will be followed by teach-ins and trainings, check the Events page for details.